Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Gabriele Manoli; Sara Bonetti; Jean-Christophe Domec; Mario Putti; Gabriel Katul; Marco Marani
    Date: 2014
    Source: Advances in Water Resources
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.0 MB)


    Competition for water among multiple tree rooting systems is investigated using a soil–plant model that accounts for soil moisture dynamics and root water uptake (RWU), whole plant transpiration, and leaflevel photosynthesis. The model is based on a numerical solution to the 3D Richards equation modified to account for a 3D RWU, trunk xylem, and stomatal conductances. The stomatal conductance is determined by combining a conventional biochemical demand formulation for photosynthesis with an optimization hypothesis that selects stomatal aperture so as to maximize carbon gain for a given water loss. Model results compare well with measurements of soil moisture throughout the rooting zone, of total sap flow in the trunk xylem, as well as of leaf water potential collected in a Loblolly pine forest. The model is then used to diagnose plant responses to water stress in the presence of competing rooting systems. Unsurprisingly, the overlap between rooting zones is shown to enhance soil drying. However, the 3D spatial model yielded transpiration-bulk root-zone soil moisture relations that do not deviate appreciably from their proto-typical form commonly assumed in lumped eco-hydrological models. The increased overlap among rooting systems primarily alters the timing at which the point of incipient soil moisture stress is reached by the entire soil–plant system.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Manoli, Gabriele; Bonetti, Sara; Domec, Jean-Christophe; Putti, Mario; Katul, Gabriel; Marani, Marco. 2014. Tree root systems competing for soil moisture in a 3D soil–plant model. Advances in Water Resources. 66: 32-42. 11 p.


    Google Scholar


    Ecohydrology, Numerical modeling, Optimal leaf conductance, Photosynthesis, Root water uptake, Trees competition

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page